Rebirth of a Natural Beauty

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Tuxedo park is on the verge of becoming Hudson Valley’s new hot spot, if Michael Bruno has anything to say about it. He has invested millions to create a renaissance of the area, seeing it as a diamond in the rough that is due for some serious cutting and polishing. We sit down with the real-estate (and antiquing) maven to talk about his vision for the region.

Lily Hoagland: Let’s start with Sloatsburg. Do you consider it one of the first crown jewels in the Tuxedo renaissance? There has already been press about a noticeable revival of interest from people who, just a few years ago, would have never heard of it.

Michael Bruno: Sloatsburg, NY has amazing access to the trails in Harriman State Park. Conveniently, there is both train and bus transportation that can whisk people to and from the city in under one hour. There are many sweet, historical buildings that were just waiting to be renovated so I have found it compelling as a place to invest. Interest in hiking and cycling continues to grow every year, so I have no doubt Sloatsburg can become a very popular destination for people interested in the great outdoors. There are already a number of popular restaurants but no place to spend the night. That’s why we are opening a boutique hotel geared to people who like to cycle.  The access to the park from the boutique hotel is great; you can get into the park without ever going on any busy roads.

LH: What type of buyer do you see as being most attracted to join an opportunity like the renewal of the area?

MB:  People who are interested in outdoor sports, gear and cycle shops, along with craft beer makers, have approached us.  The forthcoming market is ideal for people who want to attract millennials.

LH: You’ve spoken before of this being the perfect place for a third home—what would that home life would look like on the weekend, relaxing in the area, or walking around town?

MB: Having a home in Tuxedo Park is like owning part of a great camp. The trail system for hiking, snowshoeing and cross-country activities makes it a year round escape and only an hour away from the city. Add to that, the ability to participate in rowing on the lakes, playing tennis and golf, and dining lakeside at the club, there is no place like it.

LH: You used to live in France—do you see something like the renaissance of Bordeaux under Alain Juppe as an example of what can happen with the Tuxedo are?

MB: Being the gateway to one of the worlds, greatest food belts, the Hudson Valley, anything can happen. We like to see things unfold organically. Since beginning our project, we have already seen some exciting places open and innovative companies announce they are moving to the area. It was really exciting to hear that Warby Parker is opening a design and manufacturing facility in Sloatsburg that will house about 150 employees.

LH: Can you give a ballpark idea of a proposed timeline?

MB: This past summer we opened the Blue Barn Farm Stand, the response was phenominal, we had over 500 people come out to shop most weekends. Next summer, we hope to open the Blue Barn Market within the historic Tuxedo Stores Building, along with a twelve-room hotel, a bar and restaurant. At the same time, the plan is to have at least 20 rooms ready to rent in Sloatsburg. We see the town of Tuxedo, as the place people will stay to access the hiking trails and Sloatsburg as the spot to stay for biking. Both locations offer different access to the trails.

LH:. What has been your favorite comment made by someone about this work?

MB: Many people say when they are walking through the Rose Courtyard in Sloatsburg, “I feel like I am in France.”